It has been more than a year, or perhaps years now, since I adopted the ‘Lost in Fiber’ moniker. As many art and design friends know, I hesitate to call myself a fiber artist or textile artist at this juncture, as I am not focused on the mastery of any specific technique within the realms of these practices.
The ‘getting lost’ aspect of exploring fiber’s materiality is what lured me in initially as well as its potential as a cultural connector and crafting matrix for modern artifacts and handmade objects. A sustained interest in highlighting the authenticity and regional specificity of fiber is what continually keeps me engaged in ways that also reflect my environmental concerns/research.
It is in this spirit that I share a medley of materials recently featured as part of an art/design showcase with Sienna Road in lower Manhattan.
The pom-pom strand (above, on left) was handcrafted for Cardamom Collective and Kakaw Designs by a uniquely talented artisan couple in Antigua, Guatemala. This design is based on a headdress wrap worn by women from the village of Chajul, (in the Ixil triangle near Nebaj). Mari of Kakaw Designs has sustained an ongoing relationship with local artisans in Guatemala and respectfully interfaces with the communities and regional riches of her childhood. Cardamom Collective in the U.S. has thoughtfully cultivated these designs as a way for local dyers and weavers to create new work as a platform for valued traditions to be passed on by regional artisans.
I was drawn to collecting this textile work as it not only is an opportunity for artisans to continue with heritage traditions in rural regions, but as research for our small family foundation — (these naturally-dyed pom-poms reminded me of the woolen braids and floral headdress of traditional Bulgarian brides.)
Commissioned work like this not only creates new opportunities for livelihood and cultural preservation but also furthers the dialogue of ‘lost’ materials and methods being upheld as timeless artifacts.
More soon regarding the spirit and symbolism of nomadic shepherd bells in my own studio practice as well as chaguar fiber designs from Nuraxi studio and the Wichí women of the El Portillo community in Argentina.
Feel free to follow the featured designers/studios via Instagram: